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Marquette University Alumni Association

J. William and Mary Diederich College of Communication Award Recipients

James T. Tiedge Memorial Award

Brian WenselBrian C. Wensel, Bus Ad '81
Simi Valley, Calif.

Brian has made his mark during 35 years of entertainment industry work without spending any time on screen, these days working as senior vice president of production finance for Legendary Entertainment.

He has managed finances for TV shows, miniseries at ABC TV and feature films produced by major studios. At Paramount Pictures — where he spent 22 years of his career — he worked his way up from production accountant to senior vice president of production finance, travelling nationally and internationally to work on hundreds of feature pictures. He then went on to work as a financial consultant for Warner Bros. when the studio produced major hits like The Dark Knight and Inception.

“Each time we start a picture, it is a new beginning — new script, cast, crew, locations, a whole new set of issues, problems, solutions,” he says. “Picture-making has gotten a lot more complicated over the years, so, with each movie, it truly takes a team effort to reach the goal of releasing a product.”

Now senior vice president of production finance for Legendary Entertainment, he supervises all financial aspects of feature film production. Some of his most recent projects include Godzilla, Crimson Peak, Krampus and the pending World of Warcraft film.

“Most pictures don’t get made, so it is a real accomplishment when you watch a finished picture and see your name in the credits,” he says.

Once extremely shy, he credits his involvement with Marquette student government with challenging him to step outside his comfort zone — and succeeding.

“I ran and won vice president of programming for ASMU,” he says. “I had to campaign in the dorms, give campaign speeches. Once elected, I had to address the student senate at our weekly meetings. Changed my life.”

Fun Facts
Hometown: Philadelphia
Favorite book: Anything by Steinbeck
Dream dinner guest: George Marshall
Marquette faculty member who had an impact: Bob Turner was director of instructional media in the then-College of Speech. So accessible, knowledgeable and kind, especially to the younger students. Especially to a business student who hung around the College of Speech way too much. The year after I graduated, I flew to Milwaukee so I could drive back to L.A. with my roommate Steve who was also making the move to Hollywood. At that point, Bob had been placed in hospice. Steve and I made it a point to stop by and say goodbye to Bob. Shortly after we arrived in Los Angeles, we heard he passed away. Thirty-four years later, I often think of Bob, a mentor to so many of the Marquette gang that pursued careers in television/film.
Favorite Marquette memory: Walking down to Mecca for a basketball game along with the mass migration from campus, especially with snow on the ground. Can still hear the crunching.
Career he aspired to in grade school: An architect. I liked the idea of building something, the exactness of it, the coming together of all the pieces having to merge seamlessly to create a structure.
Marquette legacy: My brother George, Sp ’79. My wife, Sp ’82, and I sent up a memorial scholarship in his name after his death in 1995.
Most influential person: My mother. She was all about education. All about reading. All about moving away to experience the world. She was first-generation Irish Catholic — one of six siblings, none of whom went to college or lived farther than 20 miles from each other. She was determined to break the cycle and saw all three of her children graduate before her death.